Aziza Mamadaliyeva Interview - The Hopper Prize

Aziza Mamadaliyeva

Aziza Mamadaliyeva on the confluence of curiosity and creative expression, preparing for an upcoming exhibition, and an exploration of the human body and the natural world.

How did you get into making art?

My journey into the world of art and creativity started during my decade-long career as a gymnast. All that discipline and elegance in gymnastics got me to infuse these qualities into other facets of my life.

My true immersion into the realm of art and design, however, came to life during my time at the Community College of San Francisco. While briefly exploring architecture and computer science, my path was defined when I delved deeply into visual media design.

In 2022, my academic trajectory evolved, with art becoming my primary focus. With each passing semester, my artistic journey gained momentum, fueled by the confluence of curiosity and creative expression.

What are you currently working on?

At the moment, I’m primarily focused on two things: school projects and personal creative projects that I work on whenever I have some free time. As the current semester progresses, my attention is increasingly directed toward creating my senior theses—an extensive project that represents the culmination of my artistic growth and exploration over the years. At the same time, my creative path is taking an intriguing turn as I engage in an electro-crafting class. In this class, I’m learning to blend digital art with physical objects, bridging the gap between virtual and tangible artistic expression. Alongside all of this, I’m preparing for an upcoming honors exhibition scheduled for the end of the semester. This exhibition will provide an opportunity to share the results of my creative journey with a wider audience.

I focused on an exploration of the human body and the natural world.

Aziza Mamadaliyeva

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

In my previous body of work, I focused on an exploration of the human body and the natural world. This idea was driven by a curiosity to understand how our physical forms relate to their broader environment. I incorporated mirrors and mirror-like materials as central elements in my creative process. By doing so, I examined the concepts of reflection and perception. These themes were not only investigated from a physical standpoint, but also in a metaphorical context, as mirrors often symbolize profound introspection and self-discovery. The deliberate use of these reflective materials thus allowed me to simultaneously capture the tangible and the abstract, inviting viewers to contemplate both the external world and their inner selves.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

I approach my practice by balancing both distinct projects and a broader perspective. While I engage in specific projects that allow me to deeply explore particular themes or concepts, I also maintain a broader outlook that enables me to see connections and intersections across different ideas.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

I like to start my artmaking process by getting cozy and comfy. I grab a coffee, slip into some chill clothes, put on a laid-back playlist, and light up a candle or fire up the essential oil diffuser. I have to set that relaxed vibe to get those creative juices flowing. And as for studio time, it’s a bit of a rollercoaster depending on my school schedule, which keeps switching up every day.

Who are your favorite artists?

I don’t have a favorite artist; I perceive them all as inspirational and distinctive in their individual ways. Currently, I am drawn to the creations of artists such as Yayoi Kusama, Anish Kapoor, Daniel Rozin, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Marina Abramovic, Ai Weiwei, Daniel Popper, and Olafur Eliasson.

Where do you go to discover new artists?

I explore various sources to discover new artists, including art galleries, online platforms, art exhibitions, and recommendations from friends and art enthusiasts.

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